As part of our first Bookends Christmas, we decided to ask our authors to give us a little snapshot into their festive traditions and plans. The responses we had were so entertaining, or heartwarming, or both, we thought we’d cram in as many as possible throughout December.
Keep an eye out for contributions from all of your favourite Bookends authors and don’t forget to let us know @TeamBookends what your own responses would be!
So, without further or ado, we’ll hand it over to the floor. It wouldn’t be Christmas without…
… my mother insisting that my sister and I write our letters to Santa immediately because ‘he needs to get organised.’
This is what thirty looks like, apparently.
…our annual battle to drag the tree through our front door. Every year we forget that we don’t live in a house designed for giants and drag home an enormous tree, before arguing in the (inevitable) rain about how on earth to get it into our flat. All is well though, once we have sawn the top off and persuaded it to stand up vaguely straight in our living room. We get out our ever-increasing collection of baubles and stars and the angel with only one wing and our daughter puts them on the tree. Wonderful.
…a list! Christmas is all about lists. Most importantly, the starting point is who is on the Naughty List and who is on the Nice List – every toddler knows that much. But actually there are endless lists. To do, To buy, To decorate, To book, To clean, To invite to the party… I sure know how to list the fun out of Christmas!
OK, I might be coming across a little odd and controlling but honestly, I don’t know how anyone manages without the lists. My favourite list is in a big old leather book that I’ve had for about ten years. In that book I list out everyone I’m planning to buy a gift for and then I note down what I buy. This way I avoid buying similar gifts two years in a row. However, this book is not just useful, it’s also about the magic of Christmas. When I read over the old lists I remember people’s reactions to the carefully selected gifts I’ve given. What could be lovelier?
…the tree-top angel made from a loo roll inner tube by my son thirty seven years ago. It has lost most of its hair, but then, so has my son.
Yet another failed attempt at Diana Henry’s Danish Christmas Kringle. I think yeast sees me coming and decides to hibernate. However her Danish Snow Biscuits are always a big hit.
The first stave of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. When I was a little girl my Dad used to read it to me by the fireside on Christmas Eve and when I got older I’d read it to him. Nowadays, I just read it to myself.
…compromise! Christmas was always a tug of war in our house. On one side was my expansive, Christmas-loving husband, Don. Deck the halls – preferably with a tree bigger than the one in Traflagar Square; pile the presents to the rafters; ask every random you speak to from November onwards to Christmas lunch; empty the bank account… you get the gist.
On the other side was curmudgeonly old me. Not Scrooge, exactly, because I hope I’m not mean. I just found the whole festive thing such a pressure and incredibly time consuming – searching for those elusive post codes for cards, digging pine needles out of the carpet till June, hot hours in shops spending cash I didn’t have, finding a roasting tin big enough for the damn turkey, (where did last year’s go?). It had to be perfect, of course. Basically I’d lose my sense of humour round about mid-October, and feel fantastically guilty about losing it.
But oh, things have changed. Gradually, over the 42 Christmases we’ve shared, Don and I have come to a very Happy Christmas compromise. We send e-cards, if at all, so no post codes or post-by dates to worry about. The daughters do the turkey, pick up the pine needles, have the randoms, take the load. Our tree is splendidly fake, but it makes us both laugh. And the family have adopted the ten-pound Christmas present rule. Result! So here’s to Christmas! Have a great one, everybody.
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